VALPARAISO, Ind. – The remains of a fallen Indiana National Guardsman have been returned home.
Specialist Robert Tauteris Jr., 44, of Hamlet was one of four soldiers who died in Afghanistan on January 6th after being hit by a roadside bomb. All four were all members of the 713th Engineer Company out of Valparaiso.
Tauteris's body was flown into the Porter County Municipal Airport in Valparaiso this morning, where a full military honor was held for a local hero.
Eight days after he lost his life in Afghanistan, 44-year-old Specialist Robert Tauteris Jr. made his final trip home. He was greeted at the airport by the military, Patriot Guard and his family; including his 22-year-old son, Robert Tauteris III, who was serving overseas in the same unit as his father.
Major General Marty Umbarger explained Tauteris Jr. wasn't only a hero to his country, but also his to family.
"Robert didn't have to go, he volunteered to go, he wanted to be with his son on this deployment so he could take care of him. Then, as fate has it, the son brings the father home," Umbarger said.
Escorted by the Patriot Guard, the fallen soldier was driven from the airport to his hometown, North Judson.
"What more can you say, thank you." Dennis Francis of the Patriot Guard said, "Sacrifice is shared, they lost a son father, we've lost one of our American heroes."
Nearly 30 miles away, in Tauteris' home town of North Judson, the dozens of people gathered on the street with flags and signs to welcome Tauteris, or Bobby as they knew him, home.
"He's definitely one of our towns hero's Bobby Tauteris." Kaleb Homan said as he stood next to the road, "He was close to this town and it means a lot that he was overseas fighting for freedom."
"It's just mind boggling to know that he was entrusted with that kind of job and was willing to go through that kind of danger so that we can live in the world that we live in today." Connie Miller said.
Tauteris' unit in Afghanistan is tasked with clearing roads of IEDs, or roadside bombs.
Funeral arrangements for Tauteris will be Sunday in North Judson at the Braman and Bailey Funeral Home. Visitation starts at 10 a.m. The funeral service starts at 1 p.m.